An Important Test for Iraq

  • 23 December 2010

There are various reasons why the confidence reposed by the Iraqi Parliament, enabling the new government to the see light of the day, is a significant development. Firstly, it marked an end to the nine-month conflict and drew to a close a long-running political vacuum by neutralizing the conflict between the different political parties. Despite the intensity of differences over the past several months matters came to a peaceful resolution and did not result into a bloody conflict. This goes on to prove that sticking to the process of dialog is the only way to settle such differences. Another major factor is that the winners of the legislative elections held in March were represented in the government. Most importantly, since Iraqis have suffered due to a difficult security, political and social conditions this arrangement amounts to a political stability under which development and investment in national resources could be achieved and living conditions improved.

There are, however, also reasons to worry about this development as they can put the government to a serious test in the times to come. The fact remains though that despite the consensus over its formation it is still an incomplete government because some key ministries remain unoccupied till now. Filling these positions in the coming period will undoubtedly define the government’s capability to carry on and succeed. The continuation of the differences between political parties till the last stages of the formation of the new government led to the postponement of voting to last Tuesday instead of Monday. This means that the new government will have to maneuver through these differences and will be subjected to a serious test which can only be achieved by overriding these disputes so that businesses are not disrupted and its stability not undermined.

The fact that the government was formed under unusual circumstances has left its own impact. This can be understood by the Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s statement that the formation of his government is not ideal and does not satisfy people’s aspirations or political parties and not even his personal aspirations. The challenges facing the new government cover security, political and economic spheres and are characterized by a high degree of complexity and sensitivity. This has been further complicated by the disputes between political parties and dealing with these is going to be another test of the government’s cohesion and compatibility between the different blocs. Formation of the Iraqi government is indeed an important step but even more important is its ability to continue and maintain its cohesion because only that will allow the government to play an active and positive role while dealing with the great responsibilities that lie before it.

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